Guide: Run an employee survey

State your goals before surveying

At the start, you want to think about the end. What actions will come out of the survey? What different decisions are you ready to make -- or what will stay the same based on the results? Before you write the first survey question, consider:

What organizational question(s) will the survey help answer?

  • Can you clearly state your goals for the survey?
  • Can you state your main questions concisely?
  • Will your leader(s) support and advocate for this survey?
  • Do you have hypotheses that the survey will help you test?

If you can't answer "Yes!" to all of these questions, it's good to gather more information from other data sources such as employee interviews or focus groups. And it's possible that a survey is not the right approach.

Can you ensure action as a result of your survey?

  • Do you have the time and resources to not only conduct the survey, but also to analyze and share results?
  • Do you know who your target respondents are? Can you get enough responses to inform decisions?
  • Is your organization willing to take action based on the findings?
  • Will your organization hear the results objectively, and trust any findings, positive or negative, enough to act?

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